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The 20 best summer concerts in NYC

Check out our top picks for this year's summer concerts in NYC, including info on free and outdoor shows

Photograph: John Klemm
Central Park in New York: SummerStage

Start hoarding sunscreen: Here are the top summer concerts NYC music lovers should not miss! Plan out your summer in New York with our picks for the best warm-weather gigs, including plenty of indie-rock bands, world-class DJs, hip-hop artists and more.

RECOMMENDED: See all concerts in NYC

Best summer concerts in NYC 2016

1

Hot 97 Summer Jam

The radio station’s annualtour de force packs in sets by heavy-rotation headliners Future and Travi$ Scott, plus Chicago cult hero Chance the Rapper, “Panda” sensation Desiigner, a reunited Terror Squad and dozens of others—oh, not to mention all the inevitable surprise appearances. (Lil Wayne and Drake dropped by in 2014.) MetLife Stadium. June 5 at 6:30pm; $45–$275. Get tickets here.

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By: Andrew Frisicano
2

Beyoncé

On the most talked-about tour of the year so far, Queen Bey serves up songs from her emotionally complex, meme-generating Lemonade amid a megamix of hits running all the way back to her Destiny’s Child days. (Be prepared to sell a kidney to afford tickets to these sold-out shows.) Get tickets here.

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MetLife Stadium Wednesday September 7 2016
3

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Sixty-year-old soul singer Sharon Jones is a pint-size powerhouse whose career didn’t take off until she hit middle age. The awe-inspiring amount of energy she brings to her spirit-shaking live performances may just be her way of making up for lost time.

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08 Jun 2016
4

Tame Impala + Dungen

Australian psych-rock band Tame Impala has developed a surprisingly strong pop presence thanks to its recent third album, Currents, and Rihanna’s cover of the band’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.” Expect the set—and that of Swedish shredders Dungen—to fill the park with trippy swathes of serotonin-boosting sound. Get tickets here.

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Tue Jun 14 - Wed Jun 15
5

Unsound Festival New York

While this offshoot of the popular Polish avant-garde festival doesn’t boast a venue in an underground salt mine like the Kraków original, it does feature performances by multimedia artist Elysia Crampton, Nine Inch Nails collaborator Alessandro Cortini and 25 other envelope-pushing sonic innovators such as leading techno imprint Ilian Tape’s Zenker Brothers.

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Thu Jun 16 - Sat Jun 18
6

The Cure + The Twilight Sad

This year marks four solid decades of swooning goth beauty, mixed in with the occasional flash of razor-edged madcap eccentricity, from one of history’s most famous proponents of emo eyeliner. (Heads up: The group’s been treating crowds to epic three-hour sets.) Get tickets here.

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Sat Jun 18 - Mon Jun 20
7

Disclosure Presents Wild Life

British sibling duo Disclosure is best known for mixing throwback house beats with contemporary pop hooks, but for this miniversion of its England-set Wild Life festival, the pair shares the stage with neosoul sensation Anderson .Paak and Queens’ controversial rap dyad Mobb Deep. Expect some trippin’, kids. Get tickets here.

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18 Jun 2016
8

Public Enemy

Public Enemy. For free. In Brooklyn. God, we love summer. While often overshadowed by its trenchant political commentary, PE has always made rocking parties part of its mission. Expect a full set of old-school hip-hop perfectly designed to be blasted in the park on a hot night. Betsy Head Park, Brooklyn. June 21 at 7pm; free.

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By: Hank Shteamer
9

Dolly Parton

An artist of lesser fortitude would have given up after just one round of the numerous ups and downs that Dolly Parton’s experienced over her lengthy career, but she’s held on long enough to become not just a country legend but a true pop icon. All hail the queen. Get tickets here.

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25 Jun 2016
10

The So So Glos

Two longtime standard-bearers for the Bushwick DIY scene made good: The frenetic punk quartet the So So Glos graduated to a more polished sound on its new disc, Kamikaze, and the storied show space Market Hotel recently relaunched itself as a legitimate (albeit sweaty) venue. Two babies all grown up; we can’t wait.

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25 Jun 2016
11

John Carpenter

Legendary horror filmmaker John Carpenter stopped making movies years ago, but he’s kept on producing the deliriously freaky synthesizer compositions that gave Halloween and The Thing their inescapable atmosphere of anxiety and dread. See the master himself front a full band—and watch people freak out when it launches into an Escape from New York soundtrack cut. Get tickets here.

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08 Jul 2016
12

4Knots Music Festival

While most indie-rock fests branched into other genres years ago, The Village Voice’s 4Knots remains keenly focused on all things underground and guitar-based. This waterfront installment features indie legends Guided by Voices, Detroit garage punks Protomartyr and folk-punk duo Girlpool.

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09 Jul 2016
13

Radiohead

The new A Moon Shaped Pool is possibly the most difficult album the enigmatic prog group’s released in its career, but fans will surely swoon so hard over cuts like “Burn the Witch” (not to mention old favorites from Kid A and OK Computer), they’ll give tweens at a Justin Bieber concert a run for their money—especially considering the crew just played their quasi-disowned megahit "Creep" for the first time live in 7 years. Get tickets here.

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Madison Square Garden , Midtown West Until Wednesday July 27 2016
14

Digable Planets

Considered a one-hit wonder by some, thanks to its briefly inescapable 1992 jazz-rap smash, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” this trio’s commercially underperforming 1994 follow-up, Blowout Comb,has belatedly but deservedly become part of the canon of rap’s golden age. Prospect Park Bandshell. July 30 at 8:15pm; free.

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By: Hank Shteamer
16

Drake + Future

Two of the most influential voices in rap right now grace the house that Billy Joel built—er, plays all the friggin’ time—with this four-night stretch at Madison Square Garden. Expect to hear cuts from last year’s team-up album, What a Time to be Alive (unavoidable viral hit “Jumpman” is a shoo-in), and plenty from Drake’s latest LP, Views. Get tickets here.

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Madison Square Garden , Midtown West Thursday August 4 2016 - Monday August 8 2016
17

Mad Decent Block Party

Diplo’s roaming turnup function touches down for a seaside weekend at Coney Island. Along with a set from the big man himself, this year’s lineup boasts performances by Toronto singer-rapper Tory Lanez, Drake producer Boi-1da,
mash-up maestros Flosstradamus and recently reascendant pop survivor Kesha, plus a lot of folks keeping EDM summertime madness alive. MCU Park at Coney Island, Brooklyn. August 6, 7 at 1:30pm; $45/day. Get tickets here.

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By: Rohan Samarth
18

David Lang’s the Public Domain

As part of the 50th installment of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Pulitzer Prize–winning composer David Lang assembles a chorus of 1,000 volunteer vocalists, creating quite the stir in the plaza. 65th St at Columbus Ave. Aug 13 at 5pm; free. 

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By: David Cote
19

Black Sabbath

The original heavy metal band has overcome illness and decades’ worth of personal disputes to stage one of rock’s most improbable late-career comebacks. After
this tour, appropriately named the End, the band will call it quits for good. See. This. Get tickets here.

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Nikon at Jones Beach Theater , Long Island Wednesday August 17 2016 - Tuesday August 23 2016
20

Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

Bird is the word! While this fest may be named for the legendary Charlie Parker, SummerStage’s jazz program isn’t stuck in the past. This year’s boundary-pushing talent includes composer Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Sextet, keyboardist Jason Lindner’s Breeding Ground and piano powerhouse Jason Moran. Marcus Garvey Park. August 26–28 at 7pm; free. 

See more summer concerts in NYC

Electric Daisy Carnival NYC

Electric Daisy Carnival in NYC hosts two days' worth of big-name EDM acts, elaborate performances and carnival rides

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By: Vivienne van Vliet

Photos of summer concerts in NYC

Archive coverage of summer concerts in NYC

Comments

4 comments
Scott K
Scott K

Seriously. My blood pressure just went up 50% trying to find any goddamned music for tonight. Clickhole from hell.


jimmy J
jimmy J

this website totally sucks! so much bells & whistles that you have to dig your way to get any actual info

Michael F
Michael F

@jimmy J Was just thinking this!  Put a simple calendar on the site.  Unreal.

Bob
Bob

NYC! Jillette Johnson at none other than Joe's Pub 7/16 - come on out. Also you can enter your email for a free song - “Pauvre Coeur” - at: www.jillettejohnson.com